The Richard Doll Building

University of Oxford

The Trials and Epidemiology units at Oxford grew from the work of Sir Richard Doll who was a pioneer in research linking smoking to health problems.

The 9,000m2 building forms part of the Division of Medicine at the University and brings together several research groups in a single collaborative environment. It is located on a sloping site on the Old Road Medical Campus adjacent to the Churchill Hospital.

The four-storey building consists of three office wings of different lengths emanating from a long laboratory ‘spine’. The naturally-ventilated office wings define two multi-use atria and the building also includes a160-seat lecture theatre, a cafeteria and a reading room.


The groups that occupy the building were previously housed separately and were largely independent of one another. The new building was planned to bring them into one facility to promote collaboration.    

The stakeholder engagement was designed to calmly and objectively explore ways of working that slowly built up trust and co-operation during the development of the design.

Immediately apparent is the high standard of design and execution and the willingness of clients to build forward-looking, optimistic environments that intentionally stimulate and encourage the research community.
Architecture Today


The building was a Demonstration Project for Constructing Excellence focussing on minimising wastage. Benefitting from the early involvement of the main contractor and specialist sub-contractors we explored the specification of modular and standard-sized components, off-site construction and the contractual limiting of waste bought to site. 

The process enabled us to develop a set of in-house audit tools to identify sources of waste during the design phases.

Our Team

Project Team

  • Client: University of Oxford
  • Structural Engineer: White Young Green
  • Building Services: White Young Green
  • Landscape Architect: Robert Rummey Associates
  • Cost Consultant: Turner and Townsend
  • Project Manager: Gardiner and Theobald
  • Planning Supervisor: Ridge and Partners


  • Winner: RIBA South-East Award